Meet the Upcyclists: Turning trash into treasure


By Max


“Waste not, want not,” as Grandmother used to say. And upcyclists – those who take their leftover wine bottles and use them to create attractive borders for their vegetable beds – are definitely following Grandma’s advice. Upcycling is reusing an object in a new way, without breaking down the original material (like recycling does). It’s environmentally friendly, thrifty, and increasingly trendy.

The Make Do and Mend Tribe

Upcyclists tend to be married (67%, female (69%) and college educated (70%) with no children living at home (76%). These are women who are intelligent, creative and educated, characteristics which are reflected in their passions for design, art and home decoration, reading, and politics. They’re fans of photographers like Lurie Belegurschi (landscapes), Sue Bryce (women’s portraits) and Simon Beck, who creates stunning geometric designs in snow.

Clearly, these women are not afraid to defy convention to create something beautiful.

They’re also remarkably imaginative, but place equal value on being resourceful. These insights come from their top books, which include 100 Days of Real Food and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld satirically humorous fantasy series. Their top magazines and websites lean green: Mother Earth News, True Activist and Nourished Kitchen.

In fact, their passions, pursuits and preferences paint a remarkably clear picture of their politics, shopping habits, hobbies and even personalities.


Trends she’s driving

Upcyclers clearly gravitate towards both a philosophy and an aesthetic. These are people who don’t buy just to buy – they consider their purchases carefully and are more likely to purchase products from brands that align with their goals. Tom’s of Maine Natural Care and Burt’s Bees are two of their top brands, both companies that market themselves as using “natural” ingredients.

The Upcycler demographic isn’t just driving a trend towards “natural,” “organic,” “green,” and “earth-friendly,” – their purchasing decisions are indicative of a larger trend within the Millennial demographic. These 20 to 30-somethings collectively gravitate towards companies that share their values. If you want to appeal to this audience, make sure your marketing talks about your commitment to the environment, Free Trade, or anything else that says “we care about the world we live in – here’s how.”

Upcycling for these women isn’t just an interior design trend or a crafty hobby; it’s a political and philosophical statement.  And, it’s beautiful (check out for stunning art pieces).


Find out more

We took a deep dive into the passions and preferences of the Upcycling demographic. You can download our free, in-depth research here. Enjoy!



Topics: Knowledge; Infographic; New Business Pitch